Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taste of Home

It is great to make things from scratch, but sometimes you are just craving a little taste of home...

Thanks to the great friends and family who send packages when a craving hits :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

One Year of Blogging: Our Top 5 Recipe Picks!

One year ago we started this blog, only a few days after unpacking and getting everything set up in our new apartment. Now, we write this as we sit amongst boxes, preparing to move in just five days.

We have cooked a lot of meals in this apartment, more than we could ever imagine finding time to blog about. That is good news though. It means we have plenty more recipes to share with you and plenty more crazy cultural differences to write about.

To celebrate one year of this blog, we both took the time to look back through all our of recipes and pick out our favorites. Sometimes these are the recipes we make most often, sometimes they are just ones that were really tasty and we wish we could eat again and again. Here are his and her top 5 picks (in no particular order because picking five was hard enough!):

Super Delicious Currywurst

-Filled Zucchini: A classic. Extra crunchy cheese on top makes it even tastier.

-Super Delicious Currywurst: The name says it all...

-Spaghetti Aglio e Olio: Tried it while we were in Italy and we both agree, his version tastes better than what anyone in Italy had to offer. He used to make it every Saturday when he was younger :)... even cold in the early morning, it is amazing!

-Chevapchichi: Spicy and perfect with almost any type of side. Apparently, people agree with us. This is our most googled and clicked on recipe!

-Cheap and Easy Homemade Pizza: Extra crunchy crust = awesomeness :)


-HOT! Beef chili: This meal is so comforting and so quick and easy to make. Especially, delicious when we eat it with our...

-Southern Honey Cornbread recipe (another of her favorites!)

-Better than the Box Mexican Rice: Perfect to accompany any Mexican meal and a great side because you just dump it in the pan and can forget about it. When recipes likes burritos and fajitas have so many parts, it is nice to have one dish you don't have to worry about.

-Cheap and Easy Homemade Pizza: We definitely agree on this one. Why order out when you can make awesome pizza at home with all the toppings you want?

-Sweet Crepes: There is no way this could not make her list. Every American girl's dream is a man who has perfected his crepe-making skills.

-Paprikaschnitzel: Uuuh, there is nothing to say except for delicious!

Southern Honey Cornbread

Want to try one of our favorites? Just click on the name and it will take you right to the recipe.

Thanks for reading this past year. Here's to the next! *clink*

Friday, September 21, 2012

Fried Maultaschen and Egg

Unfortunately, if you are not in Germany or do not have access to Southern German food, this dish will be nearly  impossible to make. There is a way to make your own maultaschen but we haven't tried it yet...hopefully, that will be a project in the near future.

Maultaschen are like giant ravioli but a bit larger, tougher, and with lots more filling.

In our part of Germany it is traditional to eat maultaschen on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday because they say god cannot see the meat through the pasta dough. For this reason, maultaschen are sometimes called Herrgottsbeschei├čerle, or little cheaters on god.

You can get vegetarian maultaschen or with meat inside. We usually have the original schw├Ąbisch kind (with meat). We will only be living in southern Germany for another week and might as well make the most out of it :) Maultaschen can be eaten and cooked in a variety of ways. In soup, on salad, boiled, or fried. Our favorite way to eat maultaschen is fried with egg  mixed in. If you have maultaschen, making this meal is very simple.


Cut your maultaschen into thin slices. He cuts them horizontally to get the maximum number of pieces.


Heat a healthy amount of oil on the stove. 


Once hot, add the maultaschen.


Let brown and stir to make sure all sides are cooked evenly.

While the maultaschen are cooking, beat eggs in a separate bowl or glass. We usually use two eggs, but sometimes we will use three if it is going to be our entire dinner.

Once the maultaschen are good and brown, remove them from the pan and blot with a paper towel to remove additional oil. 

Return to the heat and pour the eggs over the maultaschen. Mix often while letting the egg cook.

Remove from the heat and serve. We like to eat our maultaschen with ketchup, but we are sure some Schwabians would roll their eyes at that :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The World of Schorle

Apfelschorle and other schorle-type drinks seems to be only a German thing. We have never seen it outside of Germany and only the German flight attendants on Air Berlin know what it is and serve it on flights. She was very suspicious of schorle when she first saw it being made in Germany but now she thinks that she would continue to make it sometimes even if she was back in the USA.

Schorle is the German word for spritzer and when you have an apfelschorle you drink a mixture of apple juice and bubbly water (water with gas, haha, makes her laugh every time!). This can be done with drinks other than apple juice. Orange juice is another common favorite in our house.

Everyone has their own perfect ratio of apple juice to water. She likes hers with about equal water to apple juice while he likes his about 2/3 water to 1/3 juice.

Making any type of schorle is extremely easy. Pour the juice into the glass and top with water. She mentioned to him that no Germans ever put the water in first and he responded, Of course! You don't want to lose all the bubbles by pouring the juice in the water. She continues to learn something new everyday in Germany...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Driver's License

Recently, she has been faced with the decision to take the written and driving test in Germany to receive a German license. This has led to the discovery of some big differences between getting a license in the USA and Germany.

Age: The first major difference between getting a driver's license in the USA versus Germany is the age that you can get it. Germans are shocked when they hear that some U.S. states allow people as young as 14 to drive. She doesn't think Germans understand how empty these states are. Believe us, there is nothing you can run into in South Dakota! Most states do not let teenagers get their driver's permit until 15 or 16 years old. Others, like Wyoming,  Kansas, and Iowa, allow permits for 14 year old. Most of these states, however, do not allow teenagers to receive a restricted or full license until they are 15 or 16 years old. The exception to this is South Dakota. If you take driver's education you can receive your license at 14 and 3 months, if not, you have to wait until 14 and 6 months. Not sure if that is scary or awesome!

The latest age you can first get your permit is 16 (e.g., New York and New Jersey) and everyone who passes all the necessary tests can have at least a restricted license at 17. The latest age to receive an unrestricted license in any state is 18 (e.g., Massachusetts, New Hampshire). She grew up in California and received her permit at 15 and 6 months, her restricted license at 16 and her full license at 16 and 6 months.

He, on the other hand, grew up in Germany where you can start driving at 17 with parental supervision and 18 without. If the license is received at 17, it is after taking both the written and driving test, just like a 18 year old would. Then, for the next year, the licensed driver can only drive with a parent in the car. This option was not even available when he was younger.

Cost: Getting a driver's license is never cheap but there is cost and then there is COST. Getting a driver's license in Germany is a big expense and can easily cost over 1000 euros. A major reason for this is because you must take a class, participate in a large number of behind the wheel driving classes which are expensive, and then even rent the car (and you driving instructor) for the day of your examination. In the USA you can save money by skipping the class (although this often means you have to be a bit older to get you license) or you can take driver's education as a class in high school --> free! Additionally, because you can practice driving with your parents, you do not need to pay for many hours of driving with a driving school (she took only six hours when she got her license) and you use your own car for the examination, meaning that you do not need to rent the car from the driving school (or the instructor).

Examinations: From what it sounds like, the written and driving examinations are quite similar in the USA and Germany (she will let you know if this is really true once she takes the tests).  Two major differences are that in many U.S. states, driving tests are done on a course and not on the regular road (this is not true for California though). In Germany, all driving tests are done on the road. Additionally, In Germany, your driving instructor sits with you in the passenger seat of the driving school car (meaning he could push the break or gas if needed) and the test giver is in the back seat. In the USA, the test giver is alone with the driver and sits in the front seat (of a normal car without the option to push the gas or break if needed). Guess Americans are just a little more trusting of new drivers :p

An additional difference is that in Germany you receive a special license if you take your test in an automatic car which says that you cannot drive manual cars in Germany. In the USA, it does not matter what type of car you take you test in, all licenses are the same. This is probably because a large percentage of cars in America are automatic and it is unlikely that someone who did not learn on a manual car would ever need to drive one.

The license: People love to look at her American driver's license in Germany just as much as Americans love to look at his. Overall, they are actually are quite similar. Very basic information is listed on the license but unlike the American license there is no height or weight listed on the German license. Yes, that's right, Americans have the embarrassing fact that many U.S. state licenses have their weight on you better be careful what you put down. Both German and American licenses are the same size (size of a credit card) but every state in the USA has its own color scheme, photo placement, etc. Some states use licenses that are read vertically for those who are on a restricted license or are under 21 (not legally allowed to drink and therefore makes it easier for people checking). These are then turned horizontally when they reach a certain age. Other states, like California, are always horizontal but the picture switches sides from right to left  depending on your age. If you move to a new state in the USA you must retake at least the written driving test. Once you have your license in Germany you can move anywhere within the country and keep the license.

Hey, it is Ed McMahon's license! (
Expiration: Even though you have to wait so long and spend so much money to get a German driver's license you get a lot for the effort you put in, unless you lose your driving privileges, your license never expires and you never have to retake the examinations. This is unlike the USA where (depending on the state) you have to renew you license every so many years and retake the driving examination starting at a certain age (when they are worried you are getting to old to drive). She only has experience with California driver's licenses. There you must renew your license every four years (this can be online, in person, or by mail). Retaking the driving test is dependent on age and various conditions...she actually isn't exactly sure about it all.

We will save the differences in driving in the USA and Germany another time!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Greetings from Lago di Garda

We know that we have been MIA (Missing In Action for the Germans) lately, but don't think we have forgotten about our blog.

After a crazy 36 hour race through a dozen apartments in Frankfurt we found our perfect place and signed the lease...only to come home for 24 hours before leaving again. Now we are off on vacation in Italy, being inspired by Italian food for future blog entries and enjoying this...

We hope that you are continuing to celebrate summer even if it is now September. We will be back next week with full stomachs and new recipes from Italy.

Greetings from Lago di Garda / Italy ~ The Garlic and Onion Lover

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: BYOK (Bring Your Own Kitchen)

Frankfurt! (
The Garlic and Onion Lovers are moving! We are leaving our sleepy little Southern German town for the big city --> Frankfurt.

We are in the midst of the hunt for an apartment...and a hunt it is. Frankfurt is a large city with a competitive market for apartments. Renters have very little power and competition is fierce. Add this to the already strange apartment rental system in Germany and you got yourself a giant headache.

There are two main reasons apartment rentals in Germany are so strange.

The first is called Provision. This is also common in large American cities, however, even the smallest German town might have many apartments with provision. Provision is the name given to the fee you pay your apartment "finder." Many apartments (a large percentage of apartments in the Frankfurt area especially) are put on the market through a real estate agent. The renter can only see the apartment through the use of this person and if you want the apartment, you must pay 2.3 times the monthly rent - just for opening the door for you to look! This system is also common in New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., etc. A frustrating system when you have to pay extra just to be able to give someone your money!

One of the many kitchen-less apartments (
The second and SUPER STRANGE thing about apartment rentals in Germany is that you must BYOK - Bring Your Own Kitchen. When she tries to explain this to people in the USA they just don't get it (so we have pictures for you!). When we mean bring your own kitchen we mean you bring the ENTIRE kitchen. Counters, cupboards, stove, oven, everything. This is extremely common in Germany and often times those apartments that do include a kitchen must be bought from the previous owners (often ranging in the thousands of euros). Luckily, even though apartment rentals in Germany are strange, they do come with toilets :)

So, this is what we are facing. The race is on to find a nice apartment in Frankfurt with no provision and a kitchen so we can keep cooking and adding recipes to our blog :)